Margin: Labor 10.3%
Region: East Metropolitan
Outgoing member: Martin Whitely (Labor)
Click here for electoral boundaries map
Electorate analysis: To be vacated at the coming election by Labor member Martin Whitely, the seat of Bassendean extends northwards from the Swan River to the Reid Highway, from Bassendean and Ashfield through Morley and Lockridge to Beechboro. The one-vote one-value redistribution at the 2008 election stripped the electorate of the Caversham and Swan Valley outskirts, and the current redistribution has added 3000 voters between Beechboro Road and Tonkin Highway in Morley and Beechboro for the loss of 1000 in Bayswater at the city end of the electorate, with no impact on the margin.
Bassendean has been safe for Labor since its creation in 1996, being held by former Morley MP and later Gallop government minister Clive Brown until 2005, and thereafter by Martin Whitely, previously member for Roleystone. Whitely came to the seat when the party’s national executive intervened at Geoff Gallop’s behest to protect all sitting members, heading off a preselection war threatened by the redistribution which abolished Whitely’s seat. The process alienated Whitely from the AMWU Left faction, leaving him factionally unaligned. After retaining his endorsement in 2008 with the support of Alan Carpenter, Whitely announced in January 2012 that he would not seek another term. He also took the opportunity to call on Eric Ripper, shortly to be unseated as leader by Mark McGowan, to follow his example.
Whitely had been a critic of the concentration of preselection power in the hands of union leaders, specifically Dave Kelly of the Left faction Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (now United Voice) and Joe Bullock of the Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. It was Kelly who would emerge as his preselection successor, after more than a decade as the union’s state secretary and figurehead of its attendant sub-faction. Whitely has nonetheless endorsed Kelly, while saying he plans to run for Senate preselection in opposition to the anticipated nomination of Bullock, who is believed to have the numbers sewn up.